For about 10 years now I have been in the good position of having friends that work in the local games shop. It’s where I buy most of my Games Workshop, Dungeons and Dragons, Warmachine and any other gaming related items. The bonus of having friends working here is they can introduce you to new games you’d normally never try otherwise. I’ve chosen to review 2 of them I have recently played for you:
In the box you get, metal figurines representing the various robot characters from the game (character choices are purely aesthetic, they don’t have stats or any impact on the game as far as I can remember), several “course” boards which are printed on both sides, the rulebook and a myriad of tokens. The first reading of the rules can be a little confusing, but after a few games everything starts running smoothly.
Here’s how a typical game goes. First you select your robot of choice, then you select which map/course you will be playing on. In the back of the rulebook they have rated each map to how many players it best suits and what level of difficulty it is. You then place down the objective marker flags in the squares instructed from the rulebook. Each Player gets dealt a hand of cards, which will control your robot. The cards you get are turn left, turn right, turn 180 or move forward/backward X squares (X being a value of 1 to 3). You have five control slots and you place cards down into these slots in the order you want your robot to move, the cards act like “programs” for your robot. The idea of the game is to reach each of the objective flags, in order, before your opponents.
It’s not as easy as it sounds however. The map is covered in hazards including conveyor belts, bottomless pits and defence lasers. It’s very easy to program your robot incorrectly and end up in trouble. The robots themselves also shoot lasers. If you happen to be directly in front of one of your opponents they will shoot you, damaging your robot. The more your robot is damaged, the less control you have over it. It begins with getting less cards dealt to you each turn, therefore giving you a smaller selection of programs to choose from. Take sufficient damage and your programs become locked, meaning you have no say over how your robot acts. There are also squares on the board that let you repair your robot, or even upgrade them with better weapons or defences.
This game can be a great laugh, especially when things start going wrong, usually down to not concentrating on your programming. There’s a lot of room for being malicious towards your opponents robots. One good example was a game I was playing where I thought it’d be highly amusing to push a friend’s robot down a bottomless pit. However I judged my programming wrong and ended up following him down the pit!
Due to the potential unpredictability of each turn and depending on the number of players, one course can take quite a while to complete, and there are many possible courses in the box (I believe you can also purchase expansion packs). I think there is good re-playability value, as no two games play out the same.
RoboRally.com : Site that contains many extra downloadable boards.
Flux is a great card game my friend introduced me to at the weekend. A deck contains four different types of cards: Keepers, Rules, Goals, and Actions. As the name suggests the rules are constantly changing during the game. At first glance this can seem quite confusing but once you get the hang of what the games about, it’s really very simple.
At the start of the game everyone gets dealt 3 cards. Before any new rules cards are played, each turn you will draw one card from the deck and play one card from your hand. Now let’s look at each card type:
Keepers: These are quite simple. They’ll display a name such as Love, War, Toast, Chocolate etc, and a relevant illustration. They are quite important as in most cases without these you cannot win the game.
Rules: These effect how each turn is to be played such as altering the number of cards your draw, the number of cards you play, even which direction around the table the players take their turns.
Goals: These are the cards that inform you what you need to accomplish to win the game. For example you may be required to possess 10 cards in your hand, or another one is called “All you need is Love”. Any player that has the Keeper card Love and no other keepers wins that game.
Actions: Using these cards can have big impact on the game. Maybe you can choose to discard any of the new rules you disapprove of or you’d like to swap hands with one of your opponents.
It becomes quite a fluid game, and also gives you the chance to really turn the tables on the other players. Victory can be snatched away from you at the very last second. Yet again, it’s a good game to be spiteful in (Why is this a recurring theme for me/my friends? We do all like each other I promise) and in this spitefulness comes great laughs. As it’s so simple and each game doesn’t last that long it’s great for when you don’t have the time to spend on something like RoboRally or Talisman (A game I like to call “Where’s my evening gone, OMG it’s 4am!).
I’ve found out that there are many variants of Fluxx available including Stoner, Family, Eco, Zombie and Monty Python Fluxx (the latter two I shall be trying to get hold of). Apparently they can all be combined into one deck for Mega Fluxx (however the Stoner Fluxx has a different backing to the cards).